Tuesday, December 14, 2010

A perfect meal in Atlanta

The best meal (by far) I had in Atlanta last weekend -- and one of the highlight dinners of the year, anywhere -- actually was at a restaurant in Decatur, GA, just outside Atlanta. It's about a year old and is on Decatur Square, a rather marginal area full of lesser eateries, none worth going out of your way for, as far as I can tell. But what a foodie gem sits among them!

The Spanish themed Iberian Pig Kitchen & Bar has two dining rooms, one on the main floor adjacent to a hopping bar, and another smaller one on the second floor. We went on Saturday night and the decibel level was over the top, making me leery of what this experience was going to be like. We had a reservation and were ushered right to our upstairs table.

The wine list boasted many unusual, adventurous choices, heavy on selections from Spain, of course. Since my knowledge of Spanish wine is not deep, I trusted the waiter to bring me glasses (or 3-ounce tastes) of whatever he thought would match my food, and he did really well. The wine was excellent. But the food -- amazing!

To start, I had what turned out to be the best salad I've tasted in many moons. Called Ensalada de Marcona, this scrumptious concoction included butter lettuce, delicious Marcona almonds, cherries, shaved Manchego cheese, chorizo, caramelized parsnips, crispy shallots and sherry vinaigrette. Lick the bowl good.

My friend's braised veal shank ravioli, a tapas portion, was so wonderful that she ordered a second plate of it.

For an entree, I tried a vegetarian dish called Quinoa y Verduras (middle photo above), and it rocked. (the menu description: red quinoa with basil, arbol chile corn sauce, grilled hearts of palm, asparagus, confit heirloom tomatoes, shiitake mushrooms, salsa verde -- yes, it was as good as it sounds!)

I was on a roll and didn't want to quit eating at this place, so I ordered dessert, too: a trio of ice creams -- pistachio, fig & sherry and dulce de leche.
I would go back to this restaurant in a minute. HIGHLY recommended, anyone who will be in Atlanta anytime soon. It's near a subway station so even if you don't have a car, you can get there on MARTA. Do it!

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